Making it Count

Winning is great if you’re that way inclined. It gives your ego a little stoke. And in the land of CrossFit, a PB for a time or rep-based WOD can definitely be taken as a win just as much as lifting heavy things. Good job. Gains made. Forge ahead.

Some of us also like to have ‘friendly’ competition with our mates during classes. Also great – it’s a lot of fun and bragging rights are yours if you come out on top.

Just one thing to make sure of – stay true to your current level of standards and complete the WOD as prescribed by your coach. So if you’re claiming RX for a WOD, do your utmost to ensure RX standard for Every. Single. Rep. If you’re scaling with partial range of movement, then bust your ass to hit that range for Every. Single. Rep.

If you finish a WOD knowing you could have squatted deeper in some of your thrusters, for example, yet you still counted them – is your score correct? Or say you finish Fight Gone Bad with a rep added here and there and you still claim your score as legit – is your score correct? You will not have a true score and any claim of success is false. Jack Shit really. Fair enough, you may really want that PB or you are so close to beating your mate that you want to make sure it’ll happen. But has it really happened?

Is it really a win or a PB if you KNOW you deliberately cheated?

Because that’s basically what it is. A deliberate action to alter your score. There are a few ways that athletes do this in a CrossFit WOD….

  • Shaving Reps

If a WOD says 21-15-9, that’s what you do. It’s not 21-13-8. Now, truthfully, some of us are so gassed during a WOD that we can’t get enough oxygen to the right side of our cerebrum – that’s the counting side of our brain! – and as a result we occasionally end up miscounting. This is not cheating. It’s an honest mistake and when it happens, we usually admit we lost count somewhere in there at the end of the WOD.

But when you KNOW what you’re doing by only grinding out 8 pushups instead of 9, or running 180m instead of 200m, that’s when you will be labelled with the ‘C’ word. (Cheat – that’s the ‘C’ word we’re referring to here!)

  • Incorrect Time

Say you finish the WOD in 8.53 but you notice that ‘Baz’ in an earlier class recorded a time of 8.51. So you think to yourself ‘Ah, it’s only a few seconds’ and you record your time as 8.50. Boom Baz! I finally beat ya! Sad thing is – you didn’t beat Baz at all. You actually got beat twice…once by Baz and then by yourself. Stick to the clock. It’s there for a reason.

  • Adding Reps

Count with me ‘1,2,3,4,5…’, not ‘1,2, miss a few, 17,19,20…’ Adding reps can be one of the easiest mistakes to make during a WOD. It’s hard enough to keep track of your next movement in a tabata sequence, let alone remember how many reps you’ve achieved. Write it down. Use tally marks. A number clicker. A counter for every 10 reps. Don’t just estimate you’ve done 23 reps. Chances are it’s only 22 and you’ve given yourself extra credit. Then there’s those who deliberately add reps on to their score. This rockets you to the leaderboard of the cheater category. It’s not a cool place to hang out.

  • Compromising Technique

This is a big one in many CrossFit boxes around the world. Sure, you’ve completed all the prescribed reps and been honest about your times. But were you honest about your technique? Did your wallball shots hit depth and target for every rep? if not, did you repeat the reps which you failed? What about your air squats? You know that you pumped 50 out in record time. But did you hit the depth you know you’re capable of?

In truth, movement standards are easily lowered when pushing through a WOD. The more fatigued you become, the more likely you are to count that dodgy pullup as a rep. You know, the one where your chin is at the same height as your eyebrows. And again, you may think you’ve hit prescribed depth for your thrusters as as you tire. It feels just as deep and painful, but fatigue has set in. Your coach will tell you to get deeper so you know the feeling of depth under fatigue.

Training with lack of discipline in regards to movement standards is also heading down the path towards injury. Performing movements with poor technique is quite often how this happens – and then it’s no PB for you until you have recovered from injury.

In your haste to finish the WOD or beat your mate you sometimes compromise technique. Don’t let it become a habit. Bro reps aren’t acceptable. Be disciplined. Hit the movement standard that has been set for you. Every. Single. Time.

Yes, the WOD may suck. You may be falling behind, your mate is kicking on ahead, or that PB has become a distant memory. You just want it to be over. We get that.

But cheating?

Who are you really cheating?

Yourself.

Don’t treat yourself that way. Cheating is a bad habit to get into. It’s lazy. And it’s really not fair to the rest of your CrossFit community. Alter your WOD result and you can be 100% sure that it will be noticed by someone. You may think you’re getting away with it or that it doesn’t matter because it’s just a workout and you’ve still got some benefit from it anyway.

WRONG.

It may feel discreet to you, but trust us, it isn’t. Cheating during a WOD shows about as much discretion as Cameron Bancroft with some yellow sandpaper and a cricket ball. There are eyes everywhere. Your coaches will notice. Fellow members will notice. And when they do – their opinion of you as an athlete – and maybe even a person – will diminish.

While you may still gain physical benefits from working out dishonestly, you will not gain friends. It is not fair to the majority of your community who are honest during each WOD. They work hard to maintain technique and count correctly. It’s something they’re proud of and it gives them great satisfaction and mental strength. This is where you are cheating yourself. Treat yourself and your results with honesty. Place integrity over all else and work your butt off. We can guarantee you will gain far more admiration that way.

If you are someone who knows they may cheat in some way during a WOD, make it a goal to change your behaviour. It’s easy to drop a rep, or go sloppy on technique. Don’t take the cop out. Forget the scoresheet. Don’t rip yourself off. Maybe you can create a ‘post-cheating’ PB chart. The real deal. This one will give you much greater satisfaction if you do it right. Then you will know you’ve earned the right to enter a score that you’re proud to brag about!

If you’d like to experience the CrossFit 4504 Difference register below for your FREE 7 Day Trial

Program Update

I’ve created this blog to help you, our athletes understand where our programming comes from – in order to help everyone understand how our goals for the box are really the same as your personal goals!  Having been around CrossFit boxes, seeing AND being, everyday people working on their fitness for more than 7 years, I know that our goals and how we get there vary by degree and not by kind.

Here are some of the basics that everyone should know and understand well:

  1. CrossFit is an all-inclusive, general and broad strength and conditioning program that aims to improve your GPP (General Physical Preparedeness).
  2. CrossFit is defined as Constantly Varied, Functional Movements executed at High Intensity with the overall purpose of increasing fitness.
  3. Fitness is defined as an increase in work capacity over broad times and modal domains. Work capacity can be measured by how much weight you move, how far you move it and how fast you can move it.

Now – take a step back from all that information and remember that in CrossFit we look to improve your strength, power, speed, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, agility, balance, flexibility, coordination, and accuracy.  All 10 of those general physical skills are equally important and weigh in on how we program for you.  (You might have seen these words plastered around the rig!!)

So, how do I program for CrossFit 4504? Here it goes….

First, I believe in the CrossFit methodology whole heartedly.

BIG PICTURE

I break our year up into blocks which start at the end of the Open.  Everything is designed to prepare you for the following years Open.  These are called Meso Cycles.  Each of these blocks lasts around 3 months.

Cycle 1 Strength

Our focus is building a solid strength base to help you progress and be less prone to injury.  You will notice that the loads are heavier both on lifting days and also in the daily WOD.  Each of our major lifts works on their own Macro Cycle of 12 weeks.  This allows us to test movements regularly throughout the year so you’re always able to see progress rather than waiting extended periods before retesting components.

We are almost done with our heavy work for this cycle.

Cycle 2  Endurance

Our focus here is building an engine – so increasing the volume of work you can do.  The WOD’s will be slightly longer and still heavier loads.  This builds a strong foundation for increasing your work capacity.  Our heavy days here will include longer sets and accessory work like pauses and tempo work, to build muscular endurance.

Cycle 3 – Intensity

Our focus here is putting your strong body and solid engine to work FAST.  We lighten the loads, and shorten the time domain so you should see an increase in your capacity to get work done faster.  Our lifting days are lighter and more technique based, while still working to maintain our strength progress.  Here you might see you lifting PR’s become smaller than in the first Cycle.

Cycle 4 – Skills

Our focus here is to build towards the Open.  So whilst we are working on your skills throughout the year we really have a big emphasis on those most likely to appear in the Open.  We repeat Open WOD’s and keep pushing that intensity piece.  Our longer WOD’s will drop off during this phase and will appear fortnightly rather than weekly.  Lifting is focused around barbell cycling and efficiency of movements.

Like an Onion… Layers

Within each of these Meso Cycles there are smaller Macro Cycles of 2 week blocks where the specific programming intent is mapped out, for example for a Strength Cycle

Sunday WOD

Monday Squat (This can be any variation)

Tuesday Press

Wednesday Pull

Thursday Core/Gymnastics

Friday Long WOD

These movements can be a stand alone lifting day OR incorporated into a WOD. The options are endless.

Within these Macro cycles are a MICRO weekly cycle which is where I build the daily WOD specifics.

Below is a snapshot of what a completed week would look like:

Within the daily WOD’s I look to achieve balance so we aren’t always doing the same thing so varying up the times and loads, rep schemes and combinations.  Yes there are times when we focus strongly on one area for a week like you might see a lot of legs etc

I try and vary the days we do certain things, so that, for example, we aren’t always training strength on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.  That way this allows for members to not miss out of elements despite having different training schedules across the gym.  Over the Macro of the 2 week cycle if you are training consistently you should still experience most elements eg a squat, a press etc.

Skill Work

I program a lot of accessory type movements (eg not the primary lifts of Clean, Snatch, Deadlift etc but variations of them), to help increase our overall strength and also help prevent injury as we focus on getting better body positions and strengthen the smaller stabiliser muscles.

Cycling the assistance work is important and lets us translate the strength we´ve been building into the Olympic lifts.

Skill Work is important to help your overall progress as athletes, and we incorporate this in varying forms to help you get to those long desired skill goals like Handstands or Pull ups.  On that note however for you to progress faster you need to continue working on the progressions outside class time.  See a coach for some tips!!

Results

Let’s face it we all want some results for our hard invested sweat and effort.  As a community we have many different goals.  Not all of you have goals relating specifically to your numbers in training. And that is awesome.  You are training with a true purpose, being driven by something more than just the number on the whiteboard.

However there are many things that come into play to help you achieve your overall wellness goals

At the end of the day, our goals are all important and can be reached using CrossFit.  Remember that what we do is CONSTANTLY varied.  The idea is to not know what is coming at you, but to get to the point where you are prepared for everything and anything.  Don’t think that you need to squat more, when in reality deadlifting and pressing are just as important.   I read an article one time that said that the gym that has multiple people deadlifting over 200kg is probably one of the LEAST fit gyms.  It probably means that they put a huge bias on deadlifting and would suffer in any of the other tests of physical skills that are important.

Conversely if all we did was the high intensity work you would very quickly become overstrained, move slower, be more tired, grumpy, sore and unmotivated.  Over the last 2 weeks I have added in way more WOD’s than usual as a response to some comments about needing more intensity, and as a coach I did this so you could see the effect it has on you.  People are coming in daily being sore and tired and flat.  Definitely not what we want for you.  You should feel energised from your training.  Balance is key.

At the foundation of any program however should be nutrition.  You can’t run a high performance machine (That’s YOU by the way!!) without the right fuel.  You need to eat a good balance of protein, good quality carbs from Fruit and Veg and servings of good fats to help your body perform.  Greg Glassman said it best in his World Class Fitness in 100 Words:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups,  dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.

Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

Regularly learn and play new sports.

I hope this ‘little’ overview has given you some background behind the programming and intent of our programming.  It may seem random at times but as you can see there is a fair bit of science behind what I do to try bring out the best in you all, and help you be the best you can be.

If you have questions please reach out and ask away!!!

PT Sessions – Your Secret to Success

Personal Training (PT) sessions are quite often overlooked within CrossFit communities, however it can be an important tool to help you accelerate your results.

I am often asked by members ‘Why would I need a PT session when you teach me in class?’  This is true we do spend a large amount of time in class teaching and correcting members technique.  However quite often in a class environment there are multiple elements to be taught and worked through, as well as up to 10 other members in our classes needing the same attention.

In a class we simply cannot go into enough specific detail with you to really drill down into technique improvements.  At CrossFit 4504 we offer 30min Technique session that allow coaches to work with athletes on a specific skill area and focus total attention on improving that.  We use a variety of tools including video analysis to help you understand the movement and what the improvement looks like.  We can also use other drills that might not be appropriate in a class setting.

We also offer 1 hour 1:1 or 1:2 buddy sessions to work on a couple of skills.  These sessions are not about getting in another WOD, but more about accelerating your results and progress.  Quite often a coach will give you homework and things to focus on in class to continue the work.

If the 2017 has left you with some burning goals to conquer then some 1:1 attention will get you to them much quicker than just waiting for a skills day in class or 30sec with a coach.  Invest in yourself and your goals.

PT sessions can also be a great way for someone new to CrossFit to learn basic skills and have their movement analysed and improved before joining regular classes.  It can be a less intimidating way to get confident and comfortable under the guidance of your coach.

Some recent examples of where a PT session ironed out some technical issues:

Nim a couple of weeks ago had struggled to a Snatch 1RM of 35kg.  She lacks confidence in that lift so it can be a battle.  We worked on it for 35mins in a PT session this week, improving her understanding of the movement and body positions, we used video and also other coaching drills.  Once she started moving well we worked up to a heavy single and she achieved 37.5 easily and much improved technique wise.  She also has some things to focus on each time she does Snatch in the future.

Toni struggles with her Double Unders.  We took some time yesterday to breakdown her body position and BAM! Nice looking Double Unders!

I have always had a coach for 1:1 sessions right from when I first started CrossFit to even today as a Coach. Having 1:1 attention is great for accountability and working towards specific goals.

All of our Coaches at CrossFit 4504 are available for PT sessions, please enquire at the office for more info or email admin@crossfit4504.com.au

The Value of a Good Warm Up

A solid warm up is often one of the most overlooked elements by athletes as they prepare to train. However a good warm up prepares you for success in your workout and a better overall performance.

At CrossFit 4504 we structure our warm ups carefully for each class to ensure the key elements to be used in the daily WOD or strength work is targeted as well as prepping the entire body for work.

Here are some reasons behind WHY we warm up:

1. To Prepare Your Body to Perform

We want you to get the absolute most our of every training session, from improving your Snatch skills to stringing together double unders or improving your Fran time. By engaging your whole body with our dynamic warm ups, static stretching, mobility drills, burpees and full-range joint movements, you will perform much better in class and be prepared for anything that comes your way!!

2. Injury Prevention

I have said it several times and I’ll say it again: Your Safety is Our Priority. We are, in fact, obsessed with you not only performing well, but also staying injury-free. Injuries can be physically and emotionally devastating and keep you on the sideline, not to mention halting your progress. That’s why we don’t warm up with heavy weights or 100 pull ups. If you are injured it affects all aspects of your life and we don’t want that. The goal of CrossFit 4504 is to have more people moving better, not filling the Physio offices.

3. Literally to Warm You Up

Warming up vigorously increases the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to your body’s muscles. In time, they become more efficient and so do you. We use exercises like Star Jumps, Skipping, Running, Jumping, Burpees to elevate your body temperature, raise your heart rate and prepare your central nervous system for action.

4. ‘Grease the Groove’

This is where we firstly teach & reinforce proper technique with the PVC drills for barbell movements. Our warm up contains elements that serve as foundation for more complex movements and we all understand the importance of learning & practicing proper technique.

So don’t skip your warm up!! You can enhance your warm up by coming to class early and working on your mobility so you are really ready to perform. Come and see a coach if you don’t know what drills to do. If you just dawdle through your warm up you aren’t getting the most out of it and won’t get the most out of your workout!!

We believe in what we do and we want only the best for our community..